People characterized by covenant love benefit themselves, but cruel people harm their own bodies.
Those who bless will themselves be refreshed, and those who satisfy others will themselves be satisfied.
Here we have the paradox that living for others means a better life for self than living for self. Verse 25 does not specify whether what is given is help, money, or advice, so it may refer to all of these. We do indeed reap what we sow in every area of life.
“There is a harmony between enlightened self-interest and the common good.” -William McKane
Community and the individual are not always pitted against each other. I spend time alone in prayer and the Word not just for my own personal peace, which is fantastic of course, but also in order to be more of a benefit to others. And in benefitting others well, I am benefitted, and so on and so on…
“Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?”
This is such a good picture of the principle to “perform for an audience of One.” This woman takes oil that costs the equivalent of what a common worker would earn in a whole year, and anoints Jesus with it.
She didn’t seem to care what anybody else there thought of it. She was focused on Jesus and expressing her love for Him. It hearkens to Luke 10:38-42 where Mary did the “one thing necessary” which was to pay attention to Jesus.
Jesus even affirms her extravagant act as opposed to using the money she could have sold the oil for to help the poor. There were probably many who were poor with no land in this area.
What I take from this is to always please Jesus over people. It will always be worth it. Keep your focus on Him more than people. More than any other person, and your life will be full.
Also, perhaps we can even glean the importance of loving Jesus more than loving acts of kindness or helping others. You will no doubt perform kind acts and help those in need if you truly love Jesus, so there is no need to love those acts more than Jesus Himself. It’s not difficult to fall in love with helping others, so always check to make sure you love God first, then people themselves, not just the act of helping people.
Loving God and loving others really helps people, because God’s supernatural love will be flowing thru you to them. And that is pretty amazing and transforming to the world.